Photography students from the Northern School of Art preparing for a show of their work at Empty Shop in Hartlepool. Photograph: Gary Calton/The Observer

‘Meanwhile spaces’: empty shops become a creative force across UK

From hat-makers to carpenters, art centres to gift boutiques, new life is coming to properties abandoned in the retail slump. Meanwhile seems such a bland word. Ostensibly, it is a scrap of time between one event and another. But in every hard-boiled thriller, it is where the real excitement lies: meanwhile, our hero shimmied down the drainpipe; meanwhile, on the other side of town… … there’s an empty shop. Businesses have gone bust. They haven’t been able to pay business rates; they haven’t been able to compete with Amazon; the…

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Da Vinci drawings star in Swansea gallery relaunch

| The Glynn Vivian Art Gallery in Swansea, Wales, has been modernised with a five-year, multi-million pound refurbishment, and is due to reopen at last on 15 October | The first pieces to be exhibited will be 10 priceless Da Vinci drawings from the 15th and early 16th centuries, loaned by the Royal Collection. On display from 15 October to 6 January the drawings, which form part of the Royal Collection, were originally bound in a single album that is thought to have been acquired by King Charles II in the 17th Century…

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New showcase for Dundee’s artistic talent

Some of the biggest names in Dundee’s creative sector are supporting a new scheme celebrated as an exciting first for Scotland. The Westport Gallery will act as a showcase for some of the city’s finest young artistic talents, featuring sculpture, paintings, video installations, games and fashion. Exhibitions will be curated by students from the city’s Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, who will become de facto talent scouts. The art will be displayed alongside a licensed tapas restaurant to create a vibrant new space designed to tempt a…

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